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Old 08-23-2010, 12:28 PM   #51
chillzATL
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Ellis,

At this point, I think we know what he was doing. Maybe not every detail of ever exercise he did, but we know enough. While I am interested in the more specific details of how he and others got their skills, I don't think that's what's holding me back at this point. It's just a matter of putting in the time with what I know. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of devoting ever minute of my day to training and getting these skills as he did. That alone may be why nobody ever surpasses him. Then again, we don't know just how much of "it" he actually had or how much he, with those skills, would stand out in todays martial arts world.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:05 PM   #52
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Then again, we don't know just how much of "it" he actually had or how much he, with those skills, would stand out in todays martial arts world.
Have recently watched ISKA US Open I must confess to being unimpressed as to martial effectiveness. Sure there was a tremendously high level of athleticism (those xma guys are 'out there') and quite a few of those fellows can most certainly break bones with great alacrity but whether they are representative of 'todays martial arts world' or not I don't think the founder would have stood out much in that crowd.

Comes down to the venue, no? One would expect to see considerably different material at the 'spy school' versus UFC, XMA, 'power breaking' etc. Different folks would stand out differently depending on where they are showing their stuff.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:10 PM   #53
chillzATL
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Have recently watched ISKA US Open I must confess to being unimpressed as to martial effectiveness. Sure there was a tremendously high level of athleticism (those xma guys are 'out there') and quite a few of those fellows can most certainly break bones with great alacrity but whether they are representative of 'todays martial arts world' or not I don't think the founder would have stood out much in that crowd.

Comes down to the venue, no? One would expect to see considerably different material at the 'spy school' versus UFC, XMA, 'power breaking' etc. Different folks would stand out differently depending on where they are showing their stuff.
I should have been more to the point, but I was only refering to MMA.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:20 PM   #54
Johann Baptista
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
When we finally get over this hero worship/fantasy, the Aikido community will make some good forward progress. Until then...
Without using the particular words "Hero Worship", I would say that this quote is the exact reason that the Aikido community is not moving forward. We are too proud to recognize O Sensei's spiritual achievement for what it was. Consequently, we do not turn to his teachings for guidance as we practice the art that he created. Instead, we make up our own interpretations of what he believed, call his life a fantasy, think of Aikido merely as a set of physical movements, hide the existence of Ki by calling it a metaphor, etc. No one is taking Aikido to the Spiritual level that O Sensei created it to be. Remember, this is the guy who spent hours lecturing his students on the Kami. Its really sad that so many people have tried to make Aikido into an external art by slowly tearing away all of its spiritual roots. I understand that this is not meant, but never the less it occurs. It is all too easy to follow the little voice in our minds that doubts anything remotely mysterious; it is much easier to continue in our comfortable logical patterns of thinking.

As to what Ellis said: I appreciate the distinction, but I really do believe his physical power came from his spiritual achievements. I have also done a lot of research on his life and read several books by respected authors concerning it. No where have I found a version of events that "attempts to unmask the spiritual fraud that he is." And much earlier in the posts there were mentions about "being a bridge between Heaven and Earth" and letting go of Ego. Perhaps those posts too should be ignored too and we should go instead to the physical mechanics of breaking arms .

- Johann
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:55 PM   #55
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Johann Baptista wrote: View Post
Without using the particular words "Hero Worship", I would say that this quote is the exact reason that the Aikido community is not moving forward. We are too proud to recognize O Sensei's spiritual achievement for what it was. Consequently, we do not turn to his teachings for guidance as we practice the art that he created. Instead, we make up our own interpretations of what he believed, call his life a fantasy, think of Aikido merely as a set of physical movements, hide the existence of Ki by calling it a metaphor, etc. No one is taking Aikido to the Spiritual level that O Sensei created it to be. Remember, this is the guy who spent hours lecturing his students on the Kami. Its really sad that so many people have tried to make Aikido into an external art by slowly tearing away all of its spiritual roots. I understand that this is not meant, but never the less it occurs. It is all too easy to follow the little voice in our minds that doubts anything remotely mysterious; it is much easier to continue in our comfortable logical patterns of thinking.

As to what Ellis said: I appreciate the distinction, but I really do believe his physical power came from his spiritual achievements. I have also done a lot of research on his life and read several books by respected authors concerning it. No where have I found a version of events that "attempts to unmask the spiritual fraud that he is." And much earlier in the posts there were mentions about "being a bridge between Heaven and Earth" and letting go of Ego. Perhaps those posts too should be ignored too and we should go instead to the physical mechanics of breaking arms .

- Johann
So you really believe that Ueshiba sensei was essentially a one-off? That one can't replicate his skills without also replicating, to some degree, the spiritual components of his life? Because those actually contributed to his physical skills?

What about those of his time who also had those skills but none of the spiritual components?
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:20 PM   #56
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
People wonder, then, why Ueshiba Kisshomaru didn't get the skills then. If his father was truly old school, if the son didn't ask AND if he didn't demonstrate his interest by training as hard as his father, then he wouldn't be taught. OR - he was taught, but didn't put in the hours of practice. (Unlike, we can assume, Gozo Shioda, whom Tenryu stated was closest to Ueshiba in skills - and this is important because they were utterly different in both physical make-up and character.
Ellis Amdur
So we are to take it that either Morihei sat idly by while his son single-handedly defined the art as most of us know it today and possibly diverging from what he considered was his real art, uncaring about that state of affairs it would create, or Kisshomaru knowingly watered it down? Would he really feel that divorced from the art and his son? And is Kisshomaru being skilled a binary proposition, that he must train every waking minute to have any skill at all? Would he not have at least the same quality of skills, just in much lesser quantity, but still identifiable as such, if he was shown how to train them but merely trained them minimally adequately?
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:00 PM   #57
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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So you really believe that Ueshiba sensei was essentially a one-off?
I don't see that there is a problem with answering 'yes' to this.
For instance, nobody has ever come close to Don Bradman in cricket - the man is quite clearly in a league of his own; this is adequate to show that one-offs exist.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:36 PM   #58
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

O'Sensei was a one-off, well why not - so to was the Don and many others in Sports (basketball, gold etc..). But what are the commonalities to developing extraordinary ability and can we use that to improve our own practice.
Many had a wide diversity of experiences, exposure to high level practice at critical stages of development as well as freedom to be their 'own man'. That they are well known (rather than having their light hidden under a bushel) is another question of circumstance and opportunity.

Looking around you see few of Tohei's group being able to do what Tohei can do, others being able to do what Shioda did , Saito's group being able to do what he does .... etc... Is following the party line detrimental to development for the most talented?

In modern day times we see people like the systema founders, the gracie school all rise up and become well known in just a few years. technically highly skilled yes, but also something more that came with the freedom that allowed them to develop and also become internationally famous?

dan

PS Looking at the Don and beyond just talent, you see opportunities at an earlier age than is usual, not stuck in the system and traditions of english county cricket and probably many other things all of which might have just relegated him as a byline in history. Many of these things are understood today in sport with talent ID, pathways to international competition developed and an understanding of learning methods, its one reason why records keep getting broken...and some in a uniformly more talented field will stand forever.

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:28 AM   #59
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
So we are to take it that either Morihei sat idly by while his son single-handedly defined the art as most of us know it today and possibly diverging from what he considered was his real art, uncaring about that state of affairs it would create, or Kisshomaru knowingly watered it down? Would he really feel that divorced from the art and his son?
That's explained in 'Hidden in Plain Sight'. Ueshiba needed people to perform the movements of aikido as a ritual (The underlying body skills are not relevant to this, as long as it looks like aikido, it's fine.) to generate sprititual energy for him to channel as an avatar. So all those people doing aikido without any understanding of the body skills Ueshiba taught pre-WWII, were doing their job just fine.

Quote:
And is Kisshomaru being skilled a binary proposition, that he must train every waking minute to have any skill at all? Would he not have at least the same quality of skills, just in much lesser quantity, but still identifiable as such, if he was shown how to train them but merely trained them minimally adequately?
Learning these skills means learning a different way to move. So that's a huge threshold right there in the beginning. Not everyone is able to recognize that threshold or to put in the effort to cross it.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:27 AM   #60
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote:
So we are to take it that either Morihei sat idly by while his son single-handedly defined the art as most of us know it today and possibly diverging from what he considered was his real art, uncaring about that state of affairs it would create, or Kisshomaru knowingly watered it down? Would he really feel that divorced from the art and his son? And is Kisshomaru being skilled a binary proposition, that he must train every waking minute to have any skill at all? Would he not have at least the same quality of skills, just in much lesser quantity, but still identifiable as such, if he was shown how to train them but merely trained them minimally adequately?
Lee,

Thanks for raising those sensible questions. I think that these searches into Ueshiba's past and what he "really" knew all too frequently start with assumptions that are counter to all the things we plainly know about aikido.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
People wonder, then, why Ueshiba Kisshomaru didn't get the skills then. If his father was truly old school, if the son didn't ask AND if he didn't demonstrate his interest by training as hard as his father, then he wouldn't be taught. OR - he was taught, but didn't put in the hours of practice. (Unlike, we can assume, Gozo Shioda, whom Tenryu stated was closest to Ueshiba in skills - and this is important because they were utterly different in both physical make-up and character.
What about Morihiro Saito? If anyone should have known what Morihei was doing it should have been him. And I doubt anyone could have been more loyal or put in any more time than Saito either.

Quote:
Iwata sensei wrote:
Ueshiba Sensei who was very powerful
I don't know the Japanese that was used, but "powerful" can mean a lot of different things. For instance, it can mean a controlling influence over others, which would have been a direct answer to the question Iwata was asked.

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Iwata sensei wrote:
No one could reach him, he moved so well and his spirit was so strong. Even when ten people tried to attack him at the same time they were not able to catch him. But when he caught hold of your hand you had to move where he wanted you to move or your arm would break.
I'm not saying that we should diregard this type of information, but I don't know why this comment should be so important or interesting. It is one person's perception or memory of an event.

I am not fluent in Japanese, and don't research this type of thing as thoroughly as Ellis or some others, but I don't believe that there is any good evidence that Morihei broke anyone's arm, or face, or hips.

Likewise, there is no reason to believe that when Morihei practiced aikido it would look any more or less impressive than any other skilled practitioner… After all, aikido is cooperative. Having said that, of course Morihei likely had very good skills and if pushed, as in the story with Ohba, his successful response would always be more impressive than a typical demonstration.

That's why Anderson Silva's triangle choke in the fifth round against Chael Sonnen is infinitely more impressive than a triangle choke in a demo.

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote:
gen1 = Ueshiba Morihei
gen2 = 0.8 X gen1 (i am very generous of 80%)
gen3 = 0.8 X gen2

which generation are you?
Question: Why is it that if you created a "formula" for modern mma that you would find exactly the opposite phenomena?

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:55 AM   #61
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
At this point, I think we know what he was doing. Maybe not every detail of ever exercise he did, but we know enough. While I am interested in the more specific details of how he and others got their skills....
hi Jason, I'm struggling with this...How did you mean that?
All the best, Josh
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:17 AM   #62
chillzATL
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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hi Jason, I'm struggling with this...How did you mean that?
All the best, Josh
Hi Josh,

I believe the type of internal training being discussed here by Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and others is exactly what O'sensei did to get the skills that made him such a standout. IMO, while his spirituality may have directed the changes he made to the techniques (maybe not), it had nothing to do with the power behind those techniques. Again, while we might not know every exercise he did along the way, I think that's fairly insignificant. Once you gain a certain amount of skill at it, lots of things can become your training exercises.

http://www.egreenway.com/vsjournal/images/ueshiba77.jpg

The above pic is the cover of the book Budo. I bought this book around 20 years ago and from day one I wondered "why is he pushing on a tree". I asked around and nobody really seemed to know. I've since found two references to this image and both say that he said it was "kokyu training", one even said that "he did it every day". Anyone who has read enough of the above peoples posts will notice some similarities in this image and some of the basics they talk about. O'sensei obviously felt this was important enough to do every day. As you learn more about those methods you can start to find other similarities too.

So yah, I think we know what he was doing to get his skills. It just becomes a matter of getting some good hands on instruction (which he had) and putting in the time and effort to get there (which he did). Piece of cake! =P
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:27 AM   #63
Lee Salzman
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
That's explained in 'Hidden in Plain Sight'. Ueshiba needed people to perform the movements of aikido as a ritual (The underlying body skills are not relevant to this, as long as it looks like aikido, it's fine.) to generate sprititual energy for him to channel as an avatar. So all those people doing aikido without any understanding of the body skills Ueshiba taught pre-WWII, were doing their job just fine.
I have not had the pleasure of reading HIPS, so could you elaborate on the supporting evidence for this interpretation a bit, and its advantages over just positing Morihei as self-absorbed? This seems to say that not only was he self-absorbed, he was grandiose.

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
Learning these skills means learning a different way to move. So that's a huge threshold right there in the beginning. Not everyone is able to recognize that threshold or to put in the effort to cross it.
But is this a barrier Kisshomaru would have been so inadequate as to have never crossed if he could have? He clearly devoted enough time to training aikido for people to respect him as Doshu despite all the more highly skilled students of Morihei he had to wrangle, and he was an intelligent man, so this doesn't seem plausible if he had a relatively clear path to it laid out by someone. Either he didn't know, did not try at all, or there was some unfathomable aikispiracy he was in on.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:32 AM   #64
chillzATL
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
I don't see that there is a problem with answering 'yes' to this.
For instance, nobody has ever come close to Don Bradman in cricket - the man is quite clearly in a league of his own; this is adequate to show that one-offs exist.
Yah but by ignoring the rest of the post and focusing on only that one sentence, you completely change the context of the entire thing.

My point was that by relating his physical skills to his spiritual persuits, you instantly make his level unattainable to the majority, but his skills were definitely physical. He never turned into a purple cloud and threw someone across the room. What he did was physical and as such it can be replicated through physical means.

With the vast number of physical records that are broken daily in this world, there are very few if any physical one-offs anymore. Even in cases where someone is so good that they're never actually surpassed, you still see skill levels that are comparable...except in Aikido..
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:41 AM   #65
Lee Salzman
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Hi Josh,
I believe the type of internal training being discussed here by Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and others is exactly what O'sensei did to get the skills that made him such a standout. IMO, while his spirituality may have directed the changes he made to the techniques (maybe not), it had nothing to do with the power behind those techniques. Again, while we might not know every exercise he did along the way, I think that's fairly insignificant. Once you gain a certain amount of skill at it, lots of things can become your training exercises.

http://www.egreenway.com/vsjournal/images/ueshiba77.jpg

The above pic is the cover of the book Budo. I bought this book around 20 years ago and from day one I wondered "why is he pushing on a tree". I asked around and nobody really seemed to know. I've since found two references to this image and both say that he said it was "kokyu training", one even said that "he did it every day". Anyone who has read enough of the above peoples posts will notice some similarities in this image and some of the basics they talk about. O'sensei obviously felt this was important enough to do every day. As you learn more about those methods you can start to find other similarities too.

So yah, I think we know what he was doing to get his skills. It just becomes a matter of getting some good hands on instruction (which he had) and putting in the time and effort to get there (which he did). Piece of cake! =P
I would be careful with the word "exactly". There seem enough accounts of what Morihei did, either second-hand or otherwise, so if he was doing stuff he learned at a Mike Sigman workshop behind closed doors, no one saw it. It seems more likely that he was doing pretty much those things people recall him doing, and that if he was getting something from it, it was remarkably inefficient, given that he spent almost all his time doing it, and refined on power he was remarked as having long before it ever became aikido.

Maybe we can posit there are hypothetically more efficient ways, but given what we have documented Morihei as actually doing, and not merely drawing parallels to other training methods, can we explain how he actually built power from what he specifically did?

The guy could also have just been crazy and believed he was communing with the tree each morning, like you have a friendly chat with your neighbor when you see him on your way out to work.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:01 AM   #66
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I would be careful with the word "exactly". There seem enough accounts of what Morihei did, either second-hand or otherwise, so if he was doing stuff he learned at a Mike Sigman workshop behind closed doors, no one saw it. It seems more likely that he was doing pretty much those things people recall him doing, and that if he was getting something from it, it was remarkably inefficient, given that he spent almost all his time doing it, and refined on power he was remarked as having long before it ever became aikido.

Maybe we can posit there are hypothetically more efficient ways, but given what we have documented Morihei as actually doing, and not merely drawing parallels to other training methods, can we explain how he actually built power from what he specifically did?

The guy could also have just been crazy and believed he was communing with the tree each morning, like you have a friendly chat with your neighbor when you see him on your way out to work.
There really aren't a lot of accounts of what he personally did. Even what was taught in the dojo in the pre-war years isn't well documented. besides, this is traditional japanese martial arts. The secrets were never transmitted to all the students. So you have to focus on the ones who actually have demonstrable skills. Then you have to filter that down further by looking at what those people are doing, not what they say. None of them give open credit to their teachers for their skills. Even Ueshiba and Sagawa aren't open in giving credit to Takeda, though it's safe to say that he is the primary source for their generation.

That whole communing with the tree stuff is the most common answers I got when I asked about that picture and at the time it sounded reasonable. Now, having felt a little of this other stuff, i don't buy that anymore. Especially when we have quotes where he specifically called it "kokyu training". That he supposedly did it every day says that it was important and probably part of the foundation of what he did. Considering that we find similar exercises also being considered 'The basics" in a lot of these other things... well...it's just too coincidental for me.

As for the changes he made to aikido and whether or not they're efficient in transmitting or building those skills. Maybe his changes simply weren't good for building his skills without some side knowledge , but they were good enough for an aging man to continue to "stretch his aiki" so to speak, and maybe that's all he was concerned about. Some people might get the core of what he wanted to pass along, but the majority would not and that is in keeping with TJMA.

Everyone seems to hold him to a higher standard for passing along the secrets of his art. Like he was obligated to do so. Which is odd considering how foreign that notion is in most every other MA out there.

Last edited by chillzATL : 08-24-2010 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:06 AM   #67
David Orange
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I have not had the pleasure of reading HIPS, so could you elaborate on the supporting evidence for this interpretation a bit, and its advantages over just positing Morihei as self-absorbed? This seems to say that not only was he self-absorbed, he was grandiose.
Lee, you need to read that book. It's really good. And Jason summarizes that part pretty well. OSensei saw himself as a shaman or the head priest of a shrine, and all the followers of aikido as like sweepers of the sidewalks in the shrine. Ellis did a great job with the book.

And as for the changes from OSensei's early days in aikijujutsu (up until 1941) into aikido (from then on), most of that was done by Kisshomaru and Tohei. Meanwhile note the unswerving technical direction of Shioda's Yoshinkan, which stayed remarkably martial and effective, despite taking on the same name as the mainstream "aikidance" type of aikido.

I don't see OSensei as having been so much "grandiose" as just dedicated to an otherworldly vision that nothing in the universe (except maybe Sokaku Takeda) had ever impeded and in fact which the universe seemed happy to endorse in his case. He didn't want to "be seen as" doing something mystical: he wanted to "do" it. He wasn't concerned about how others saw him and his words reflected only the way he saw his own role.

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
But is this a barrier Kisshomaru would have been so inadequate as to have never crossed if he could have? He clearly devoted enough time to training aikido for people to respect him as Doshu despite all the more highly skilled students of Morihei he had to wrangle, and he was an intelligent man, so this doesn't seem plausible if he had a relatively clear path to it laid out by someone. Either he didn't know, did not try at all, or there was some unfathomable aikispiracy he was in on.
Mochizuki Sensei often recalled walking Kisshomaru to school, holding an umbrella over his head, on behalf of OSensei (I don't know what year that would have been, but he indicated that Kisshomaru was literally a child then.

He also said that Kisshomaru had undergone some kind of abdominal surgery in his youth and was literally unable to do some of the "yang aiki" that OSensei used. He said that Kisshomaru was good at the "yin aiki" that emphasizes yielding and soft blending, but that he couldn't at all do some of the more forceful things OSensei did.

If that were the case, he might have literally been physically unable to undergo the kind of training Jason refers to. And this would obviously have prevented his "passing on" the kinds of skills his father had. But this would not have prevented his leading the world in "sweeping the sidewalks" or "generating the spiritual energy" that OSensei needed in his role as head priest, knowing and possessing powers that none of the later generations were even aware of.

Gambarre.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 08-24-2010, 09:19 AM   #68
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
My point was that by relating his physical skills to his spiritual persuits, you instantly make his level unattainable to the majority, but his skills were definitely physical.

With the vast number of physical records that are broken daily in this world, there are very few if any physical one-offs anymore. Even in cases where someone is so good that they're never actually surpassed, you still see skill levels that are comparable...except in Aikido..
That's right. But in OSensei's actual generation (direct students of Sokaku Takeda), you find Sagawa and Horikawa, who are said to have been comparable. And Mochizuki Sensei said that Kyuzo Mifune, of judo, was comparable to OSensei in his ability to throw effortlessly and at will, almost anyone he met. And Toku Sampo seems to have been at about the same level as Mifune. So while OSensei was unique and remarkable, he wasn't a total anomaly. It is interesting that OSensei and Mifune never met. It would have made an important historical benchmark to have some kind of record of a match between them.

And then there was the matter of OSensei's skill as a promoter--whether of himself or of himself on behalf of his spiritual pursuits. These days, very few people know the name of Toku Sampo and it's hard to find any record of him or much information about him, but in prewar Japan, he was well known. But people like that are usually not self-promoters for any reason.

There is no question that OSensei was unique and extremely powerful, but he was a man among men and not a god. So I think you're right that the difference that makes the difference has always been available for those who are really seeking and not just following and imitating.

Hope you guys had a good meet-up on the 14th and that I can get together with Jang and the gang again soon!

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 08-24-2010, 09:41 AM   #69
Dan Rubin
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Dan - Thanks for the reference. And as I pointed out in HIPS (page 185-186)....
You mean I'm supposed to read it?? I've been sleeping with it under my pillow!
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:08 AM   #70
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur

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Old 08-24-2010, 10:15 AM   #71
David Orange
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur
That was the year of my birth.

Actually, I think I recall mention of that as you say. Of course, when I say "met," I meant something like when Morihei met Tenryu...

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 08-24-2010, 10:17 AM   #72
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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I don't see OSensei as having been so much "grandiose" as just dedicated to an otherworldly vision that nothing in the universe (except maybe Sokaku Takeda) had ever impeded and in fact which the universe seemed happy to endorse in his case. He didn't want to "be seen as" doing something mystical: he wanted to "do" it. He wasn't concerned about how others saw him and his words reflected only the way he saw his own role.
That's a very good point, I think. And he did it, in fact. Thanks for the interesting discussion, everybody.

I cannot even imagine to get inside the head (body image, language to describe the body and its experiences; already the body/mind terminology gets me right here...) of somebody like Ueshiba Morihei, and I strongly believe it is impossible already for that reason to neatly divide his activities between spiritual and martial.

(Of course, there is no need to do that if we use history for clues on how to become better fighters now, as the OP does. Then we can be agnostic as to the spiritual altogether, and just go for the evidence we need.)

Also, just because person X today is an amazing fighter, uses an internal conditioning system and can teach it (and we may be grateful for that) does not allow the conclusion we know what Ueshiba Morihei did. That sometimes seems to get muddled up when discussing his person and aiki/internals, I find.

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 08-24-2010 at 10:19 AM. Reason: minor corrections
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:47 AM   #73
jss
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I have not had the pleasure of reading HIPS, so could you elaborate on the supporting evidence for this interpretation a bit, [...]
Well, the pleasure is easily obtainable through the link I posted.
As part of HIPS is a number of revised essays that Ellis Amdur wrote for AikidoJournal, there you go:
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It is my interpretation of Ueshiba Morihei's mission that he saw himself as a kind of avatar, instrumental in ushering in a golden age of redemption, the unification of heaven, earth and man (which, by the way, is a classic Chinese formulation, integrated into Omotokyo by Deguchi Onisaburo, and given it's own idiosyncratic spin).

Secondly, it is my belief that Ueshiba was, to a considerable degree, unconcerned about whether others became avatars like himself, regarding each aikido practitioner as a) living out his or her own fate b) doing the work of the "spiritual working class," accumulating merit and energy through aikido practice itself, just as the followers of the Byakkokai did so by prayer, while Goi, another avatar, did the hard work.

Thirdly, Ueshiba believed that others with the innate destiny/ability could themselves become such avatars. Therefore, he did not, I believe, see himself as betraying Deguchi in staking out his own path, nor was he, apparently, overly concerned with his students who went their own way. They were doing the aikido practice—their prime function—and if they had the goods, they'd look at the circle/square/triangle, and "figure it out themselves."
[source: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=846]
And now onto the difficult questions, I have even less of an answer on:
Quote:
But is this a barrier Kisshomaru would have been so inadequate as to have never crossed if he could have?
See David Orange's comment concerning the abdominal surgery. Might have been a factor.

Quote:
He clearly devoted enough time to training aikido for people to respect him as Doshu despite all the more highly skilled students of Morihei he had to wrangle,
Perhaps he became the Doshu because he could base his authority on being the son of the founder and the head of the Tokyo dojo. Of course, he was also skilled enough, but the fact he was obviously not the highest skilled, may have prevented a lot of discussion and conflict.
Again, I don't know. I wasn't there when they decided who was to become the Doshu.

Quote:
so this doesn't seem plausible if he had a relatively clear path to it laid out by someone.
Who says the path was relatively clear?

Quote:
Either he didn't know, did not try at all, or there was some unfathomable aikispiracy he was in on.
My guess is that he didn't try hard enough. Perhaps because he didn't see the importance, perhaps because he didn't have the time, perhaps because some other reason.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:56 AM   #74
jonreading
 
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
The problem you come to is, what if what you are analyzing for reverse-engineering purposes in the first place is a mockery of the original thing? If we are working from the assumption that actual viewable demonstrations of Morihei Ueshiba are rare, that many of the people who did encounter him in person are dead by now, that of those who are alive none felt they could equal him let alone pass what they saw onto their students, then all the the scraps we are working with are suspect.

It's like analyzing a photograph of a vehicle and trying to figure out how to build a working internal combustion engine from it. All we have are echoes of what the thing was, but the actual thing that powered it is nowhere to be found. To invent it from first principles just doesn't seem to be happening. I'm not saying, "abandon hope all ye who enter here", but just that several generations of aikidoka later, and despite cross-pollination with many disciplines, we are farther than we are closer.
I do not contend the need to reverse-engineer anything. In fact, I would argue to that point that what aikido is today could not be reverse-engineered because the mechanics of the techniques have been modified beyond function and are therefore not reproduce-able with consistency.

What I contend is there are instructors in karate, jujitsu and the classical arts, (other non-Japanese arts as well) who can better explain ki and the concepts of aikido than some of our own aikido instructors. We need to critically evaluate how and why our instructors are behind the curve. We need to critically evaluate why our [physical] competency lags behind peers in other arts.

Aikido pre-existed O'Sensei, O'Sensei was just the person who codified the techniques and principles of aikido. So I also do not contend that we should look to O'Sensei to emulate his aikido. In fact, I believe the aikido O'Sensei disseminated (certainly in his later years) was abridged and not complete in its education. I believe it is necessary to extend our research to early aiki budo, aiki jujitsu and the classical arts from which O'Sensei derived aikido.

Ultimately, I believe the solution to correcting our curriculum will be derived from the learning experience and education to which O'Sensei was exposed, not the aikido he taught. I think that solution will include a physicality that will challenge many, a constitution that will challenge many and a training ethic that will challenge many. I think the solution will not appeal to the masses, but I certainly look forward to seeing its products...and learning how to fight my way out of a paper bag...
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:12 AM   #75
Eric Joyce
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Aikido pre-existed O'Sensei, O'Sensei was just the person who codified the techniques and principles of aikido.
Your right, it was called jujutsu

Eric Joyce
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